Papa Razzi

Written by on May 14, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Georgetown, Washington, DC

How I heard of this place: My friend, Chris recommended it as a great eatery to end our day of being tourists in Washington, DC – seeing museums, walking along The Mall and through Georgetown. Our mission of the day of was accomplished and we sat down at this modern Italian trattoria to wind down over conversation, laughter and a deliciously decadent meal!

Type of cuisine: “At Papa Razzi, guests will enjoy a taste of Italy without the airfare! Our modern Italian trattoria 

features made-to-order signature pasta dishes, ultra thin-crust pizzas, seafood specials along with our mouth-watering desserts. Guests will also enjoy a Tuscan-inspired Sunday brunch like no other. Whether it be a casual business lunch,

cozy dinner for two, family gathering...” A family-friendly, yet romantic date spot, “Papa Razzi brings Italian cuisine to life with an eclectic mix of classic Italian dishes and signature specials. All the dishes are made-to-order using only the freshest ingredients available, including the best cheeses, olive oil, vegetables, meats and seafood. The Papa Razzi philosophy is embodied in providing guests with delicious Italian food set in a cozy and comfortable atmosphere. The authentic pasta dishes, delicious wood-fired thin crust pizzas, fresh seafood specials and scrumptious desserts have been pleasing guests for years.” Gluten-free options available upon request.

Ambiance: A large establishment welcomes patrons from an unassuming sidewalk entrance. A well-dressed host takes your name from behind his podium in the dimly lit – with lights continually dimming as the evening progresses – space. To the right, patrons may enjoy bar seating, while others are taken to their seats along the left side of the ground floor of this establishment. Green backed booth seating is available for seating, as are tables and chair settings throughout the restaurant, including the loft-like upstairs, bordered by wrought iron railings. Baskets of flowers line the ledges of waist-height wall that separate dining areas, interspersed between square-shaped pillars decorated in vibrant colors and shapes that seem reminiscent of a sports bar, rather than a fancy Italian restaurant. Yet, somehow, in the dim lighting, they seem to somewhat blend in with the rest of the space. A bustling environment, Papa Razzi is full of happy diners, drinkers and waitstaff, moving between tables, down the grand staircase to the facilities and up to the seating area in the loft-balcony.

What I ordered: We were greeted at the table with warm foccaccia bread and house-made, hand-rolled grissini baked fresh daily, a container of red-chili-flake-infused olive oil at the table. To start, I ordered a fresh, house-made daily lemonade ($2.99). We had one order for cranberry juice ($2.75) and one order for a glass of Cabernet Savignon Coppola ($10.00). Our appetizer, Calamari Fritti ($9.99) arrived just-fried, tender, crispy calamari accompanied by softly battered and fried hot peppers, served with a lemon wedge and arrabbiata sauce on the side. Starting diagonnaly seated across from me, one of them men in our party ordered the Saturday, weekly special, Osso Buco ($25.99), slowly braised veal shank simmered in a pinot noir demi-glace and served with Parmigiano risotto. Seated across from him, to my left, our second male dining companion selected the Lombatina di Vitello ($30.99), bone-in center cut 14 oz. veal chop grilled with wild mushrooms, marsala and fresh vegetables (a large florette of crispy broccoli and rosemary-dusted oven roasted red potatoes). The dining companion seated ahead of me selected from the day’s specials, as recounted by our server, Aldana: the Pasta DiMare ($20.50), fettuccine served with a glimmering of red sauce, shrimp, scallops and muscles. I selected the Pollo alla Valdostana ($16.99) at the waiters recommendation, grilled boneless chicken breast topped with prosciutto, fontina cheese, and a marsala sauce with wild mushrooms, served alongside the same fresh vegetables that accompanied the veal chop. To end the meal, the men in our company ordered one Espresso ($2.75) and one Caffe Latte ($3.95).

What I loved: While it was unanimous that the risotto lacked flavor and needed much more cheese to be considered such, we all agreed that the Osso Buco was tender, juicy and delicately flavored. The meat, literally, fell off of the bone and went down smoothly and easily. The veal chop, too, was delicate, tender and light. The pasta, a portion-perfect meal, was beautifully dressed, with minimal sauce, yet enough to grant an abundance of tomato flavor to each bite. My favorite, a close second being the Ossu Buco, was my own chicken with marsala sauce and mushrooms. The lightly pungent fontina cheese, creamy atop the thin slice of prosciutto and grilled chicken, slightly crispy on the outside, as if it had been briefly pan-seared before grilling. The fried peppers in our appetizer were a surprising addition to the calamari and the arrabiata sauce spicy and tangy!

Why I loved it: The space is beautiful and large, with plenty of seating for our small party. The food is good and the service friendly. The staff accommodated us immediately, after being told we had a 30 minute wait, due to a last-minute cancellation. The foccaccia bread warm, buttery and soft. From beginning to end, we were comfortable, never rushed, checked on by our server and completely satisfied!

Cost: Average to high ($20 – $35 per dinner entree)

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